Wednesday’s NBA slate features four games to choose from, starting with the Rockets vs. the Pacers at 4:00 p.m. ET and concluding with the Nuggets vs. the Clippers at 9:00 p.m. ET. All eight teams in action are solidly locked into the playoffs, so it’s a tough slate to handicap from a betting perspective. There could be a lot of injury/lineup activity prior to tip off, so make sure to follow all the news using the DK Live App or on twitter at @dklive.
Here’s how I’m approaching each game on Wednesday’s slate.
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Houston Rockets vs. Indiana Pacers: Rockets -7.5
The Rockets will get James Harden back today vs. the Pacers, but Russell Westbrook is expected to get the night off. Still, that’s a trade that I’m definitely willing to make. The Rockets have been outscored with Westbrook on the court and Harden off the court this season, but they’ve posted a Net Rating of +6.2 points per 100 possessions in the opposite situation.
The Rockets will also get Eric Gordon back in the rotation for the first time during the restart, which gives them a little added depth.
Meanwhile, the Pacers have the potential to be down their entire starting five from earlier this season. Domantas Sabonis and Jeremy Lamb remain out with long-term injuries, and T.J. Warren has already been ruled out for today’s contest. Malcolm Brogdon, Victor Oladipo, and Myles Turner are also listed as questionable.
The only way the Pacers can fall out of the No. 5 seed in the East is if they lose each of their final two games and the 76ers win their final two. That gives them a little bit of flexibility, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see them ultimately rest all of their questionable players.
With that in mind, I have no problem locking in the Rockets at -7.5.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors: Raptors -7.5
This is another game where we’re still waiting on a bunch of lineup news.
The 76ers will obviously remain without Ben Simmons, who left the bubble after partially dislocating his knee cap. That said, they were also without Joel Embiid, Al Horford, Tobias Harris, and Josh Richardson yesterday vs. the Suns. We are not really sure if any of those guys will be back in the lineup today.
On the other hand, the Raptors at least seem committed to getting their starters some run today. They reduced the minutes for guys like Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Marc Gasol in their last game, but limited minutes for those guys is definitely better than no minutes.
This line has already moved from -6.5 to -7.5, and I’m expecting it to continue to rise. If we get word that the 76ers are going to have all of those guys out for the second straight game, this spread will likely approach double digits.
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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Miami Heat: Heat -1
The sharps have been absolutely teeing off on this game. This line actually opened at OKC -4, but the pros have hammered it all the way to Heat -1. There have been two separate “steam moves” tracked for the Heat, which means that large groups of wagers were placed on them at the same time. That is usually a huge indicator of professional activity.
So why all the love for the Heat? It seems like they’re going to be at full strength. Kelly Olynyk is the only player on their injury report currently, and he’s listed as probable.
As for the Thunder, they have a few different situations worth monitoring. Chris Paul is always a threat to get the night off, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari rested in their last game. Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel have also missed the past two games for the Thunder, so they have a lot more to worry about from a health perspective.
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Nuggets +5
The Clippers have yet to have their full team available in the bubble, and that will remain the case today. Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, and Landry Shamet have already been ruled out vs. the Nuggets. The Clippers are also always a threat to rest either Kawhi Leonard or Paul George, and there’s no guarantee they play full minutes even if they’re active.
The Nuggets have some of the same concerns as the Clippers. They will also be without a few key regulars – Gary Harris and Will Barton will each miss their seventh straight game – and Nikola Jokic was limited to just 25.5 minutes in their last contest.
The big difference is that the Nuggets are getting points here and have some solid bench options to rely on. Michael Porter Jr. has been a stud for the Nuggets in Orlando, and less minutes for guys like Jokic and Jamal Murray should lead to more minutes for him.
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